Information Warfare: September 23, 2002


Warfare has truly spread to an ethereal dimension. On 18 September, the pro-Chechen rebel web site reported that was being subjected to continuous powerful but unspecified attacks by hackers. In the course of previous 48 hours, the site administrator had to switch the servers of and twice, in order to disrupt the latest wave of hack-attacks. 

Meanwhile, the Chechens and their friends have been apparently just as busy. The Russian daily Izvestiya claimed that Chechen rebels had made several attempts to hack into the computer networks of a number of European banks. While it remains unclear whether the hackers managed to access account information, it's obvious that these breaches of information security were the work of proficient computer programmers. 

At the end of 2001, the Federal Security Service's (FSB) computer and information security directorate expert Vladimir Nepomnyashchiy claimed that "E-mails containing commercial offers were sent out in the name of a major Irish bank. The messages were very skillfully written, using the proper banking vocabulary but the letter contained a carefully concealed Back Orifice remote administration program as an executable attachment. Once downloaded, this would enable the sender to gain unrestricted access to the recipient's computer systems.

Since most of Russia's vitally important infrastructure facilities (nuclear power stations, airports, banks, transport and military organizations, and municipal services) are not connected to the internet, FSB specialists consider them virtually impregnable. However, accessible resources are under constant attack from hackers. In the first half of 2002 alone, there were more than 400,000 attempts to hack into the site. In any given calendar year, the Pentagon usually records more than 1.5 million attempts to breach its systems. - Adam Geibel 


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